This post from Alison jumped off the page as I have just come through graduation season. In that regard, I have been musing on the different messages young people leave school with. I have been wondering how many of those messages are attributable to parents, peers, teachers and professors and in what percentages.


One of the unhelpful messages I remember from schooldays was an influential teacher who abhorred children ‘showing off.’ This extended from the playground to the classroom in that putting your hand up too many times constituted showing off. Given our human instinct to fit in, the brighter students started dumbing down and we rationed out how many time our hands were up in the air to answer a question. Yes, bullshit, I know, but how were we to know at that young age? In her post, Alison explores another inhibitor to student self-esteem in the phrase “You should know that already.” Ed

I was probably told it a hundred times on my teacher training course. I would have thought that my mentors on my teaching practices would have mentioned it, but something has recently become abundantly clear to me, that the worst thing you can ever say to a student is: you should know that already.

As a teacher though, it so easily slips out. Too easily. You would never open your mouth and say: you’re shit! Yet the words: you should know that already, amount to the same thing. As we say them, they sound innocent enough. Perhaps a student has been working on a particular thing for many, many months. You have gone through it and over it and explained it hundreds of times. You have seen in the past, perhaps, that they have been able to do it. Then you allow your patience to wear thin.

Read on | Mad House Mum